Washington & Clay antique bottle flask soars to $52,650

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WOODSTOCK, Conn. – A rare and historical portrait flask showing strong busts of George Washington and Henry Clay, made circa 1840-1860 by Bridgeton Glass Works (N.J.), soared to $52,650 in the Internet and catalog auction of Session III of the Thomas McCandless lifetime bottle collection. The auction went online Jan. 18, 2012 and accepted its final bid Feb. 1.

Antique flask Washington portraitThe sale’s top lot was this classical bust portrait flask showing George Washington sold for $52,650..

The portrait flask was the top lot in a session that grossed around $440,000. Combined, all three sessions grossed a little over $1 million. “For a single bottle collection to top the $1 million mark is truly extraordinary,” said Norman Heckler Sr., of Norman C. Heckler & Company, the Woodstock-based firm that conducted the auctions.

The blown quart Washington-Clay historical flask was the auction’s star lot: A common bottle in mold design, in an unlisted and extremely rare vibrant light yellowish color with a topaz tone, the flask’s bold portrait busts complemented its strong embossing and perfect condition.

Norman Heckler, Jr., observed, “Glass as an antique collecting category has drawn interest from collectors who recognize the historical significance and beauty of antique bottles and glass. Many also feel, too, that it is a greatly undervalued category.”

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 17 percent buyer’s premium.

Dyottville Glass bottle flaskWashington-Taylor portrait flask made by Dyottville Glass Works in Philadelphia sold for $30,420.

Black glass examples sold include an early English wine bottle (1776), in the traditional form with a very large seal and in very fine condition that earned $9,360. The “1776” date, which appeared on the bottle as well as in the seal, generated interest not only from American collectors but their English counterparts, too, owing to the historical significance.

Another black glass piece was also an early English wine bottle in a cylindrical pancake form (circa 1680-1700), in wonderful condition. It changed hands for $6,435. The bottle boasted a dense yellow olive coloration with a bluish cast, a sheared mouth with strong rim and a pontil scar.

High-quality Stiegel bottles are always a hit with collectors because of their beauty and because they date back to pre-Revolutionary War America. These bottles were made by a Baron Von Stiegel, who brought to America an army of skilled German workers while the U.S. was still in its infancy. One Stiegel bottle that wowed bidders was a relatively scarce, 225-year-old example (circa 1774) in near perfect condition in the Diamond Daisy pattern that soared to $16,380. The bottle had a strong mold impression and a pure and crisp amethystine color (that was more vibrant than most examples).

For more information visit Norman C. Heckler & Company.

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